Today has been a planting day. I am very weary for some reason. But it feels good, for today has been a planting day.
Tonight while dinner was cooking, Annie and I went outside and found a tall pot and filled it halfway with potting soil. Annie then took the avocado seed out of the water that it was setting in on toothpicks…
She and Owen and I have been watching it sprout for about six weeks on out kitchen counter. One night after cutting up an avocado, we had decided to grow the seed (a fun trick originally taught me by sister Hannah). We put three toothpicks in it and “dangled” it inside a tall glass, filled with water. We were all delighted a week or so later to see the first root pop out the bottom…then continue to grow…and finally, the first sprout come out the top. Tonight was the night to get our hands dirty, put it in dirt, and really let it go. Now, its in our hallway, getting the best morning light, and we’re ready to watch it grow.
It was another kind of planting today.
This morning, my neighbor friend Nats. came over for coffee with her daughter. I had asked her to help me with some Japanese school forms I needed to fill out for Owen.
As I was making the coffee, she was looking at Owen’s medical book that I had gotten out. We started talking about Owen’s birth and his adoption story. We talked about the reaction we often get from Japanese who are shocked that we have adopted three children. She asked some questions about the process in receiving him, and I decided to tell her the whole thing. I shared about how:
… baby Masaru (meaning victory) was born with his intestines growing outside of his body, and needed immediate surgery. The doctors didn’t know what the long-term effects would be of his condition. We needed to make a decision about adopting him without meeting him or knowing for sure his health condition.
We prayed together. And one morning I woke up very early, and felt led to go downstairs, and read Isaiah 41. I read verses 9 and 10:
9you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
and called from its farthest corners,
saying to you, “You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off”;
10fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
As I opened the Japanese Bible, and then the English Bible for my friend Nats., she was stunned. Her eyes blurred up and she couldn’t see. She had never opened a Bible before, and couldn’t believe how personal it was. The verse even has Owen’s given name in it (Masaru/Victory).
I finished the story- how God confirmed through this verse and our prayers that God had chosen this baby for us, and we said yes… Owen had absolutely no health problems after that, and has been completely healthy.
Nats. commented that God must have a very special future for Owen, and then asked if she could copy the verse to show her husband. I asked her if she wanted the English version or the Japanese version, and she said “both.” So we made copies.
Then she said, “you probably have similar stories about Annie and Olivia, too.” We only had time for Annie’s story – I shared how we got the call about her Costco, and that the agency had named her the very name that we were going to ask them to name our baby girl (Kei, her middle name now). Again she got teary-eyed.
I told her that in all of our big decisions, we pray and (try) to leave it up to God.
She asked, “Do you think it’s like the Japanese idea of leaving something up to the fate of the heavens?”
I thought about it, and then said I understanding the similarities, but also think this is very different. The difference is that we are praying to a God who is personal; a God who loves us and cares about everything that we do. This God has a very specific plan for us and we can trust him with our future and with the daily decisions of our lives. She REALLY listened.
Planting. We hardly had time to do the paperwork before she had to leave. She left, with two versions of Isaiah 41. Sometime this evening she is re-telling the story and reading these verses to her husband. More planting. I am stunned again at how powerful God’s word is. It is still speaking, testifying to truth of God and all that He is about. I was reminded again today that it is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12) — not only to believers! But a witness to those who do not yet believe.
Planting. Pray that the Word today for the first time planted in Nats’ heart, will grow like the avocado seed. We’ll keep you posted.